|Many scientists agree that the earth’s climate is changing, and these assertions are backed up by land managers who are witnessing changes in plants and animal behavior as the climate shifts. While scientists cannot explain the climate changes of the past few decades without including the effects of elevated greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations resulting from the use of fossil fuels, there is widespread disagreement as to the magnitude of human influence on the climate and the degree to which any effort by humanity to reduce carbon output would slow or reverse the effects of climate change.
I do believe that there is consensus among most policy makers that we must develop clean, alternative fuels in order to curb the amount of GHG emitted into the atmosphere by fossil fuels. To that end, I am a member of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus, a group of Members of Congress who seek to bring together industry representatives, the Administration, and congressional interests to discuss and promote the use, research and development of renewable energy and energy efficiency. I am also a strong advocate for ongoing research and development activities at the Idaho Nuclear Laboratory (INL) concerning alternative energy.
I am concerned, however, regarding efforts to tax carbon output or to layer so many regulations on top of carbon-based energy sources that it they become unfeasible. I don’t think this is an answer to the energy crisis facing our nation—not only does it make energy production so expensive that American families will see their energy bills increase to unsustainable rates, but it also forces us to continue depending on foreign sources of energy. Unless growing economies like China and India participate in a cap and trade system to limit GHG emissions, U.S. industries would be unable to compete in the global market under such a system. In addition, I am deeply concerned that the Obama Administration appears to be trying to force Congress into implementing such a system, in spite of its unpopularity with the American people, by implementing its own climate change regulations.
Instead of creating a host of government mandates, I support using technology, incentives, and innovation to move our economy to a sustainable, independent energy source. I believe that to do so we must look at all the options, including renewable energy, nuclear energy, and domestic oil production.
These are real problems, and they must be addressed in a common sense, thoughtful way. I look forward to the debate Congress will continue to have on this issue, and I appreciate your comments about this legislation.